If, like us, you spend your days reading through the FAR, you might suppose that there are opportunities to streamline the regulations. Congress agreed, at least for DOD acquisitions, and as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, created the Section 809 panel, an independent advisory panel on streamlining acquisition regulations. The panel is working to improve many aspects of acquisitions law, including, as we’ve written about, the definition of subcontract.
A recent, small (but helpful) recommendation was the elimination of a FAR clause involving the $1 coin.
The clause in question came out of The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. This law “removed barriers to the circulation of $1 coins.” As part of that goal, the law:
requires that business operations performed on Government premises provide for accepting and dispensing of existing and proposed $1 coins as part of operations on and after January 1, 2008. To implement this requirement, FAR clause 52.237-11, Accepting and Dispensing of $1 Coin, was created for inclusion in solicitations and contracts for services that involve business operations conducted in U.S. coins and currency on any premises owned by the U.S. or under the control of any agency or instrumentality of the U.S. The clause requires contractors to be capable of accepting and dispensing $1 coins as part of business operations under the contract.
FAR clause 52.237-11 provided that “[a]ll business operations conducted under this contract that involve coins or currency, including vending machines, shall be fully capable of accepting and dispensing $1 coins in connection with such operations.”
The Section 809 Panel took aim at this FAR clause as part of its review of FAR provisions. In order to remove the FAR clause, the statute underlying it had to be amended.
The Section 809 panel recommended its amendment “because the intention of the Act was to increase circulation of the $1 coin, which is not directly related to agencies’ missions.” Congress listened and, as a result, the 2018 NDAA “provides an exception for business operations conducted by a contractor while performing under a Government contract from the requirements to accept and dispense $1 coins.”
Although $1 coins were touted as an alternative to dollar bills in the mid-2000s, the coins never caught on with the public. The U.S. Mint stopped producing $1 coins for general circulation in 2011, making the requirement for contractors to accept those coins all the more unnecessary.
FAR clause 52.237-11, along with all cross-references, has now been removed. The Section 809 panel has done its job for this clause, and we’ll continue to update our readers on their work as they streamline the acquisition system.